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Published: July 14th 2011
It was an early morning for our last full day in New Zealand. Today was a day of cabs, busses and boats. A cab picked us up at 7 am and took us to our bus. We were two of the last people on the completely full bus. By 7:30 we headed out of Queenstown and started the 2 ½ hour ride to get us close to Doubtful Sound. The ride was amazing. We had awesome views of lakes on one side of the bus and the mountains on the other side. It is hard to describe how picturesque the scenes are, they don’t even seem real.
This was just the first leg of several getting to the Sound. After the bus, we loaded onto a boat that took us across Lake Manapouri, which took about an hour. Then after we got across that lake, we loaded onto another bus for another hour long ride. This bus ride was a little more treacherous. The snow was coming down in big, wet flakes that covered all the ferns and trees. The roads were slick and the snow plow was in front of us for part of the way up to the
pass. Our uber-talkative bus driver was able to narrate the history of everything New Zealand and get us safely to our second boat. This boat was the one that mattered. It was kind of a mad-dash to the boat so one could get the best seats. We actually did well and got a seat right under a heater, and didn’t have to share our space with any annoying kids.
The sound was spectacular. Although technically it is not a sound it is Fiords. Even though it was really cold and rainy, the huge waterfalls, snowcapped mountains and misty fog were an incredible sight. Waterfall after waterfall lined the walls of the canyons we traveled through. Most are not permanent waterfalls, but only come when there is a lot of rain and snow like they are having now. We saw a female fur seal by itself swimming in the sound. They don’t usually come that close into the sound, so it was unusual to spot one. The trip through the sound lasted about 2 hours and again, the entire time we were looking from one side of the boat to the other, and running out to the deck every few
minutes to take more pictures. Words do not do justice to what we saw. Huge, steep walls of rock at the top of the mountains lead down to tons of vegetation of palm-like trees, ferns, and bushes. It was weird to see snow covered palm trees.
The driver kept plugging the power plant which was near the lake. Just before getting on the boat to cross back over the lake we got to tour the power plant which is underground and takes the water from the lake and discharges it underground into the sea.
The entire day took 13 hours from leaving the hotel to returning back to it. It was so worth it and we were glad we were able to even see it. Milford Sound is still closed because of the snowy roads, so we were fortunate to be able to book a trip to Doubtful.
Tonight is our last night in NZ and it was just one of the most scenic and beautiful countries we have ever been in, even in the winter. We are glad that we will be getting a little warmer for the next part of our journey, Melbourne, Australia.
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